What can cheer you up today? A tea infuser with a pink umbrella? A long handle ladle spoon shaped like a goose? A cocoa butter scented candle? Or a set of yellow wafer- inspired coasters on your dining table?
Get ready to feel happier or make someone else’s day when you buy a unique product from Propshop24, the e-commerce platform that calls itself, Curators of Cool. This online e-store that works with international product design houses offers quirky gifting options across categories like home decor, stationery, fashion, gadgets, beauty and food that are both whimsical and practical. The quirky brand was established in by Amtosh Singh and Utsav Vohra in 2012 and ever since, it has become the one-stop shop for exciting gifts across a variety of categories.
When he is not working, Amtosh likes to travel as it has helped him de-stress and view life with a different perspective. He speaks about some of his favourite moments, both on his entrepreneurial journey and when heading to a new holiday destination…
“I don’t have a business school story to share with you, but I’d like to talk about how we grew the business from a passion to a full time profession,” he says.
“It was a Sunday afternoon around March 2012 and three of my friends and I were hanging out together. It was a weekend when we talked about how we were fed up with our daily routine and wanted to start something new. That was when we began brainstorming and two days later, we had the idea for PropShop24 which would offer a curated selection of fun gifting products from around the world.”
The business which started as a passion project with under 15 lacs has grown to a business turning over more than 12 cr a year.
At any given moment, Amtosh loves to take off on a trip, either within the country or across the globe
“In the fast paced, competitive life that entrepreneurs live, it is essential to take time off to recharge and regenerate the brain cells,” he says.
“It is so important to take a few days off from running the business on a micro-level and look at things from a wider perspective. I love music and nature - so most of my holidays are themed around a music festival, beautiful islands or mountains.
Amtosh believes that travel keeps him sane.
“It is when I travel that I learn to maintain a balance and remember to slow down. When you come back from a holiday, you are recharged and ready to hit the ground sprinting and bursting with ideas.”
Some of Amtosh’s favourite travel destinations are Geneva, Switzerland, the islands around Thailand and Himachal Pradesh. “I love Geneva because I get to see half my family that lives there. I have also been going there since I was really young so I always have my favourite spots to go back to whenever I visit,” he recalls.
Amtosh also loves a secluded island Called Haad Yuan, which is about a 30 min boat ride away from Koh Phangan, Thailand. “There are never more than about 100-150 people on this island at any point and one of my favourite restaurants in the world is on this island – Bamboo Hut. I spent my 20th and my 27th birthday here.”
He also loves Himachal Pradesh, especially camping at a place called Sangla in Spiti Valley, with its valleys, mountains, snow clad peaks and the most gorgeous sunsets all visible from one spot.
Amtosh has gathered many special memories during his travels. He likes to talk about a chance encounter with two people in Thailand who taught him the value of business via wi-fi. “During my travels to Thailand I ended up sharing a few meals with two men in a secluded island in Thailand,” he remembers. “We spoke about life, business and travel. They told me that had made it a point to come back to this island every year for one month and run their respective businesses beside the calm oceans. All they needed was Wi-Fi! That was the day I decided one day my dream would be to run a company that did not require me to be physically present all the time. As long as I had Wi-Fi and access to my mobile, I would do just fine.”
Another favourite memory is a holiday in Croatia where he attended a music festival in a place called Zrce. “I rented a boat and spent a whole day out on the ocean visiting random beaches and swimming in random natural caves,” he adds.
Amtosh prefers holidays centred around one main activity like a music festival or a place with a really good spa or a scuba diving facility. He loves trekking and is passionate about water sports too. But his best holidays, he admits, are when he visits a beautiful beach without a schedule and nowhere else to be.
Amtosh believes that his love for travel has taught him many things about entrepreneurship.
“I think as is with travel and work life both, plan to a point, have goals set and for the rest go with the flow while making sure you don’t go too off track. It is very important not to take anything for granted.”
As he an avid traveller Amtosh has plenty of tips for those who love to travel and are planning to go on vacation during the festive season.
“Make a list of the places that you want to visit in order of priority but don’t get hung up if you don’t manage to go to all of them,” he says. “I prefer to book my main flights and stay before I leave. Make sure you look up your stay on Google maps to ensure you are centrally located and close to the stuff you want to do.”
Don’t give up on travel, he says. “Travel is important to disconnect, unwind, recharge and open your mind. It shows you new perspectives on life, different ways of doing things, new cultures and so much more.”
Amtosh dreams of going to New Zealand, South America and the Arctic someday. “I also want to go diving again in Maldives and Bali,” he says. “I plan to attend a music festival in Jaipur shortly and spend New Year’s Eve in Vietnam.”
As for his favourite place in the world, he says, “Despite all the places I’ve travelled across the world, nothing fills my heart with contentment like the peace and tranquillity of Himachal Pradesh.”